Can air traffic control towers be saved? - FOX 13 News

Can air traffic control towers be saved?

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

Two local airport control towers could be facing the axe, but a lawmaker is hoping to save them. They're on a list of towers the FAA plans to close because of budget cuts.

The two towers are at Lakeland Linder Airport and St Petersburg's Albert Whitted Airport.

Without air traffic controllers in the towers, pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings amongst themselves. The director in Lakeland feels the FAA will still send a full contingent of air traffic controllers to operate the annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-in April 9.

If it needs to, the event would cover the cost of those controllers.

There are also safety concerns about Albert Whitted. After all, those controllers keep local air traffic out of areas used by military planes at MacDill.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is expected to meet officials in Lakeland Thursday afternoon to discuss a way around this. He believes Congress could avoid this mess by getting rid of unneeded projects.

In the meantime, some cities are considering trying to find a way to pick up the costs, which is no small task with strained budgets.

Airport leaders in Punta Gorda, Naples and some other cities are even threatening to sue to block the FAA's action.

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